6. Apocalypse Now
Joining the likes of “Cinema Paradiso,” a trimmed version of “Apocalypse Now” won the Palme d’Or in the 1979 Cannes film festival. This time, however, the story is a bit different. The version that won the Palme d’Or was not a planned submission by either the studio or the filmmaker, but a necessity as it was still a work-in-progress film then.
Francis Ford Coppola was unhappy with the original climax of Willard and Kurtz and in 2001 he assembled a new cut, known as the redux version, with the help of editor Walter Murch. It adds 49 minutes to the film, which, while slowing the pace of the film, creates a more complex and detailed atmosphere of the Vietnam jungle. This version premiered in the 2001 Cannes Film Festival for the first time, with great anticipation of the viewers and critics alike.
7. Alien 3
The production difficulties that director David Fincher had to bear with, in his first major film job, is well known by cine-lovers of all ages. The late release of the new assembly cut in 2003 further notified people that a superior version was lurking somewhere all along, one that proves the mastery of Fincher in his early days of filmmaking. Without the official involvement of Fincher, the assembly cut joined 30 lost minutes to the theatrical release version, and the universe of “Alien” becomes more coherent and profound, in direct contrast to the messy story progression of the “Alien 3” theatrical cut.
After the chaotic and hazardous shoot process of “Alien 3,” the studio executives demanded several reshoots and cut from an exhausted Fincher, which he refused. The executives ignored Fincher’s suggestion and released a chopped 114 minutes in theatres, which sacrificed major characterization possibilities in lieu of a shorter runtime. The following criticism almost made Fincher leave the film industry, and only after this rerelease did “Alien 3” become a worthy addition in the much loved Alien canon to the film industry’s delight.
8. The Magnificent Ambersons
How do you rob the creative freedom from a filmmaker who made a picture like “Citizen Kane”? But in the 1940s, “Citizen Kane” was not a hit and the production house RKO Studios retained the final rights privilege for his follow-up release to themselves. The initial rough cut of the film was only 135 minutes. While not by any chance a lengthy runtime,, Robert Wise cut significant portions from the film after the negative response of the preview audience in Pomona.
The reaction didn’t improve and RKO Studios deleted 40 minutes of additional footage of the film and reshot a happy ending for the film. Welles was not happy with the cuts, but then he was working in Brazil at the request of Nelson Rockefeller and couldn’t negotiate with the producers. He did have his trademark memo denoting the alternations and his preferred substitutions, but the footage was lost.
Even a large portion of the Bernard Herrmann score was removed by the studio, and Herrmann asked for the removal of his involvement from the credits in return. Years later, additional footage would be discovered and restored by Martin Scorsese’s world cinema foundation and shown in film festivals and special screenings all over the world, where it would be well accepted. Still, it is a tragic fate that the ‘40s audience didn’t get to watch the true vision from Welles for the mere suspicion and assumption of their taste by the studio officials.
9. Kingdom of Heaven
It is a monstrous act to cut the running time of an epic film, as more often than not it dilutes the visual experience of the film. But as Ridley Scott said, it all depends on who is in the driver’s seat and for this film, and in this case, Fox’s decision was final.
Fox released the version in theatres after trimming 50 minutes from its original running time and naturally, the reactions were polarised among audiences. After the re-edited version was released in theatres in December 2005, the polarised reaction changed into an all positive reaction. Some reviewers even got to tag it as Scott’s finest movie to date and one of the greatest director’s cuts if all time.
10. Almost Famous
In 2001, Cameron Crowe released his preferred cut of the cult hit “Almost Famous,” known as the bootleg cut to the audience. This cut has a runtime of more than 160 minutes while the international release was under the two-hour mark. In a departure from the traditional fates of re-edited films, the theatrical cut of “Almost Famous” was good. The parts that were trimmed from the bootleg edition notably didn’t have many talkie parts.
What was missing from this cut, however, was Cameron Crowe’s deeper inside accounts of the rock music scene, complete with tributes and Easter eggs. The romance angle of Penny and William is more accentuated here, which transforms the genre heavily toward a romance-music category.